Voiced uvular stop

The voiced uvular stop or voiced uvular plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɢ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is G\.

Voiced uvular stop
IPA Number112
Entity (decimal)ɢ
Unicode (hex)U+0262
Audio sample
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[ɢ] is a rare sound, even compared to other uvulars. Vaux (1999)[1] proposes a phonological explanation: uvular consonants normally involve a neutral or a retracted tongue root, whereas voiced stops often involve advanced tongue root: two articulations that cannot physically co-occur. This leads many languages of the world to have a voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] instead as the voiced counterpart of the voiceless uvular stop. Examples are Inuit; several Turkic languages such as Uyghur and Yakut; several Northwest Caucasian languages such as Abkhaz; and several Northeast Caucasian languages such as Ingush.

There is also the voiced pre-uvular stop[2] in some languages, which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiced uvular stop, though not as front as the prototypical voiced velar stop. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ɢ̟ (advanced ɢ), ɡ̠ or ɡ˗ (both symbols denote a retracted ɡ). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are G\_+ and g_-, respectively.


Features of the voiced uvular stop:

  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.


ArabicSudaneseبقرة[bɑɢɑrɑ]'cow'Corresponds to /q/ in Standard Arabic. See Arabic phonology
Yemeni[3]قات[ɢɑːt] 'Khat'Some dialects.[3] Corresponds to /q/ in Standard Arabic. See Arabic phonology
EnglishAustralian[4]gaudy[ˈɡ̠oːdɪi̯]'gaudy'Pre-uvular; allophone of /ɡ/ before /ʊ oː ɔ oɪ ʊə/.[4] See Australian English phonology
Ket[5]báŋquk[baŋ˩˧ɢuk˧˩]'cave in the ground'

Allophone of /q/ after /ŋ/.[5]

Kwak'walaǥilakas'la[ɢilakasʔla]'thank you'
Nivkhньыӈ ӷан[ɲɤŋ ɢæn]'our dog'Allophone of /q/.
SomaliMuqdisho[muɢdiʃɔ]'Mogadishu'Allophone of /q/. See Somali phonology
Tabasaranдугу[d̪uɢu]'he' (ergative)
Tlingitghooch[ɢuːt͡ʃʰ]'hill'In American orthography, the 'g' is underlined; in Canadian, it is followed by an 'h'. See Tlingit phonology
!Xóõ[nǀɢɑɑ̃]'to be spread out'
XumiLower[6][Rɢʶo]'to stew'Somewhat affricated; occurs only in a few words.[7] Corresponds to the cluster /Nɡ/ in Upper Xumi.[8]
Yanyuwa[9][ɡ̠uɟ̠uɭu]'sacred'Pre-uvular.[9] Contrasts plain and prenasalized versions

See also


  1. Vaux, Bert (1999). "A Note on Pharyngeal Features". Harvard Working Papers in Linguistics.
  2. Instead of "pre-uvular", it can be called "advanced uvular", "fronted uvular", "post-velar", "retracted velar" or "backed velar". For simplicity, this article uses only the term "pre-uvular".
  3. Watson (2002), p. 13.
  4. Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009).
  5. Georg (2007), pp. 49, 67 and 77.
  6. Chirkova & Chen (2013), p. 365.
  7. Chirkova & Chen (2013), pp. 365–366.
  8. Chirkova, Chen & Kocjančič Antolík (2013), pp. 383, 387.
  9. Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), pp. 34-35.


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